Thinking About Competitions

by Fred Cederholm
I have a major favor to ask of my friends and the readers of my weekly column who are also Facebook members. Please, read on.

I’ve been thinking about competitions. Actually I’ve been thinking about networking, Facebook, the economy, commercial real estate, Sears, Gunnery Sgt. Edward Schrank, Rochelle, and needing your help. Competition has built America. And... networking (that is keeping in contact with friends and associates to secure a desired end) has long been a part of our American experience. It is said that the whole is clearly greater than the sum of parts and THAT is particularly true in any competition. Networking has changed over the years and now the most successful means to it involve high tech and the worldwide web/ internet. The Facebook website figures prominently in today’s networking world. It has well over a BILLION members! Contacts can be achieved instantly; old friends can be re-discovered, and new friends can be made just as quickly. I joined Facebook only last week and I connected/ re-connected with over 60 friends in a matter of hours! Now, I have a major favor to ask of my friends and the readers of my weekly column who are also Facebook members. Please, read on.

You see well over a year ago the Sears Corporation organization began a project to award a new Sears store to a community that participated in a nationwide competition. The competition focused on a military person who had served their family, their friends, and their community at home and abroad. Their personal story would be told and Sears would award a new store to their home community to honor them. The communities were each visited, evaluated, and the voting began on Facebook just over a week ago. There are now only two communities remaining and nearby Rochelle, Illinois is (the home of my high school) one of them. This good news means a great deal to all of us around here. But, the competition enters into the final stage and continues thru September 15th.

I don’t need to tell you how the commercial real estate market is suffering in this troubled economy. Rochelle his held up amazingly well and remains one of the bright spots in the entire Illinois economy. Still... getting a Sears store for our community would be in a word – phenomenal. I have been a Sear shopper all my life and can easily qualify as a blue ribbon Craftsman tool junky. I even get kind of emotional every week when I hear about Sears corporate involvement and generosity in the Extreme Makeover Home Edition TV show. The Operation Stores and Stripes competition is yet a further example of Sears’ corporate generosity and their involvement in our local communities. Gunnery Sgt. Edward Schrank is a true hero in EVERY sense of the word’s definition. He is a US Marine (Semper fi) with 14 years of active duty. He has served on the West Coast USA, the Gulf Coast USA, and 5 overseas deployments in the Asia/ Pacific and the Middle East. He is a cancer survivor. He lost his left eye and part of his skull. He is centrally involved in the CancerSTAR organization. He is also now one of THREE finalists for Marine of the Year for 2010. He is the reason for Rochelle’s involvement in the Operation Stores and Stripes competition.

Rochelle is a special community for me as is my hometown of nearby little Creston. Rochelle is a major transportation (both highway and railroad) hub, it is a large warehousing and distribution hub, it is a major food processing center, it is a telecommunications hub, it is an energy hub, and did I say that it is the home of my high school alma mater - RTHS... GO HUBS!!! Rochelle’s youth baseball team just took first place in the statewide competition this year. All of these are major sources of pride for us in these serious times of economic dislocation. We have a slight lead presently in the Operation Stores and Stripes competition, but we won’t close the deal until September 15th. We need your help to seal this deal!!!

For those who are already Facebook members, log on to VOTEFORAHERO and please cast your vote for Edward Schrank and the city of Rochelle, Illinois. It will only take a minute and your vote will be greatly appreciated by both Marine Gunnery Sgt. Edward Schrank and the whole community of Rochelle, Illinois. Schrank is a hero, a fighter for worthy causes, and a survivor. He deserves our whole support. If you are presently NOT a Facebook member, please consider becoming one. It will only take a few minutes to register with them. Then... you, too, can vote in Sears Operation Stores and Stripes competition. And... by the way, if you enjoy reading my weekly TH*NK*NG columns, become one of my personal Facebook friends as well. I would like that... I would like that very much. Remember you have until September 15th to cast you ballot. Please vote, it is an American right. Thank you... thank you so very much.

I’m Fred Cederholm and I’ve been thinking. You should be thinking, too.

Copyright 2010 Questions, Inc. All rights reserved. Fred Cederholm is a CPA/CFE, a forensic accountant, and writer. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois (B.A., M.A. and M.A.S.). He can be reached at

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This story was published on September 6, 2010.